Lately, I’ve been thinking of Al Gore in a positive way, which is odd because I have never thought a single positive thing about him my whole life. What has me nostalgic was his relentless campaigning and fighting spirit in the last days leading up to the election in 2000.
Political analysts credit Gore’s ferocious final campaign drive along with the Bush's DUI October Surprise as the two factors that pushed Gore’s numbers up over the last couple of days and gave him the popular vote.
Over the last week, it seems like the McCain camp is outworking the Obama camp. For example, a few nights ago Sarah Palin attended a rally in Asheville, NC. It was major late night rally that she held on top of her already heavy schedule. The rally was not even posted on anybody’s schedule.
Suprisingly, I heard McCain on a live Boston sports radio station this morning at 8:30 AM EST answering question unscripted. He is campaigning relentlessly and doing a lot of this unheralded guerilla campaigning.
Meanwhile, Obama seems to be coasting. Rush has often commented that Obama seems to be playing prevent defense. He is doing staged interviews. He is avoiding press conferences. He is relying on the media to show his huge, highly organized rallies (held in densely populated Blue areas). Meanwhile, Joe Biden is largely irrelevant. I don’t think either of them can really connect with undecided voters this way.
But here is the most important thing; local media outlets are not biased like the national media. The news of local campaign stops is just too big and too important to be suppressed in the smaller markets. Local people get to see and hear McCain and Palin unfiltered. This gives McCain a decisive advantage.
People already know Obama’s spiel. The MSM delivers Obama’s unfiltered message daily. At an Obama stop, undecideds are going to hear and see the same things they see and hear on TV. At a McCain or Palin stop, they are going to hear an economic message that has largely been suppressed by the MSM. Women are going to see news clips of an articulate, intelligent, charismatic, and vivacious woman who resembles nothing like the women they see on SNL or in the edited clips exploited by the MSM.
Good old fashion grass roots campaigning cuts through the MSM filter. As we all know, it also fires up the base and boosts local GOTV efforts like it did for Gore in 2000. Gore didn’t need to talk above or below the MSM like McCain, but he was still lagging in the polls.
In 2000, I remember how the Bush camp was not campaigning hard enough at the end. I am not sure why. I assume he either wanted to project the confidence of the winner or underestimated the power of grass roots campaigning in a technological age. In the end, Gore basically outworked and outhustled Bush on the campaign trail and almost won because of it.
I get the strong sense that the two headed approach of McCain and Palin is doing the same thing. I think all their efforts in Pennsylvania will reflect this. Pennsylvanians are hearing the real message and seeing the real deal. Lets hope Ohioans, Virginians and Floridians start hearing it and seeing it too.
Obama sure does seem like a candidate trying to project the confidence of a winner – at his own risk.